Uncategorized Partner Insights

Collaborating for Joint Success: Sarah Anderson and Steve Parrish, Telstra


As 2020 ends, we reflect on our partners’ consistent ability to deliver fundamental and critical services to customers worldwide. This week, Rich Steeves spoke with Steve Parrish, Global Alliances, and Sarah Anderson, Global Product Owner of Cloud at Telstra in Melbourne, Australia for a virtual “coffee chat” to hear insights on how Telstra’s innovative services and solutions are meeting our shared customer needs.


Agility at Scale

Agility is at the core of Telstra’s value in the way the company commits to purposeful innovation, collaboration with key stakeholders and constant industry learning. Telstra’s business strategy focuses on streamlining operations and prioritizing the customer experience through the simplification of products and elimination of duplicate processes. Released in 2018, Telstra’s T22 strategy effectively restructured both their business and culture, focusing on the future of Telstra, their business operations, products and simplifying the overall customer experience. Along with T22, came the opportunity to move toward agile at scale, which enables a flexible method of delivering the most valuable solutions to customers.


Mindset towards Profitability

As an industry leader, Telstra has committed to simplifying telecommunication technology and transitioning toward the prioritization of solutions and services, versus the quantity of products themselves. Telstra delivers these key products and services in order to eliminate customer challenges. The continued shift towards profitability is a mindset change along with T22. According to Sarah Anderson, this mindset has allowed teams to focus on delivering the most valuable solutions to customers which in turn delivers profitable outcomes for Telstra.

“T22 is our three-year strategy to radically simplify our products and services; improve and digitise the experience for our customers; simplify how we work so it is easier for our people to deliver great service; invest in a workforce for the future; while reducing our cost base and maximising our portfolio management.” 


Cultural Foundations: Better Together

In the face of a global pandemic, Telstra has continued to improve upon the culture and rapport they have with their customers, partners and employees. During our conversation, Steve Parrish highlighted the phrase “#got5.” The phrase empowers Telstra employees to stay in constant communication with their team members through quick five-minute check-ins. This phrase is how Steve and Telstra employees communicate with team members and their VMware Partner Business Manager (PBM), which is critical for teamwork and collaboration in a remote workplace. Telstra’s implementation of “#got5” emphasized the means of vocal collaboration in a world dominated by email and messaging. In addition, “#got5” creates inclusivity and support within teams to help ensure company success.

The elemental evolution within the telecommunication and digital industry has also allowed for the re-examination of partnerships.

“Telstra and VMware in partnership provide leading multi-cloud, mobility and networking solutions, designed to run any application, across any cloud and on any device. We accelerate customers’ digital requirements across multi-cloud platforms through the integration of secure VMware solutions and Telstra services, providing a world-class end-user experience.”

Furthermore, the acquisition of multiple organizations into the Telstra group allows for a cultural alignment, where the collective culture is built upon, instead of starting from the ground up. This cultural alignment has led to a long-term, strategic success between these groups of people who have come together to form Telstra.


Complementary Partnership and Joint Solutioning

A decade into the partnership between VMware and Telstra, Steve and Sarah discussed how initial Telstra products were based on VMware products. The challenge for Telstra is the differentiation of products and solutions in the cloud market. As Sarah states, “‘Me too,’ is not good enough.”  There must be a foundational difference in their products which integrates capabilities unique to Telstra for their customers. Steve also highlights the importance of a complementary partnership between Telstra and VMware and the shift toward a great alliance, where product teams become a part of the conversation as partners plan for the future.

“A good Alliance partnership delivers the basics… having a rhythm of engagement with governance, cadence, sales enablement and a shared demand generation strategy. A great Alliance looks over the horizon, what’s coming next, are our Product Teams aligned and talking about the next generation solutions. Moving from good to great requires continuous cultural and product maturity.”

Another example of Telstra’s exceptional effort to enable collaboration within a completely remote environment is Telstra Purple. This managed and professional services business is at the heart of Telstra. Built upon Telstra Enterprise’s technology services, Telstra Purple sells and delivers telecommunication technology from people with purpose to strategically solve problems, such as helping companies like UniSuper improve their digital experience to over 450,000 employees in the higher education sector.

“We’re more than just tech and innovation. We’re a collective of passionate people who give purpose to technology. These are the most important aspects of our business – in fact, so important that we’ve used them to literally inspire our name (Purpose & People). We have the technology, but we never start with it. We put humans at the centre of solving real problems for organisations just like yours around the globe. We know great transformations start and end with the people they’re meant to serve. Putting our experts alongside yours to deliver real human outcomes.”

Building Rapport in a Remote World

The pandemic has tested the world in a variety of ways. It has challenged businesses to reconfigure and adjust business models, digital technologies and the way they communicate with partners and customers. Steve and Sarah highlight how the remote workplace eliminated many networking opportunities for partners. The lack of face-to-face interaction has forced businesses, teams and individuals to communicate in innovative ways to preserve relationships, building rapport between partners and customers in this remote world. Video calls between people in their respective homes takes these professional relationships one step further, as we become one community navigating the business and world challenges together.




For additional opportunities and targeted promotions that Telstra is driving with their customers, please visit the links below:

For more information about Business Continuity efforts from VMware:


Rich Steeves
Sr. Director, Lifecycle Services
Worldwide Partner & Commercial Organization



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